The Craigslist congressman

    On the stupidity scale, who among us could possibly score higher than the horny politician?

    Actually, horniness aside, it’s the hubris and the hypocrisy that make them special. Which is why they need their own special rules of behavior, a set of tips designed to protect them from themselves. For instance, the John Edwards Rule (named for the prince of stupidity): Never have sex with a woman who wants to record it on video.And the John Ensign Rule (named for the married family-values senator from Nevada): Never have sex with the wife of your chief of staff, lest you make him very angry.And the Mark Souder rule (named for the married family-values congressman – now ex-congressman – from Indiana): Never boast to constituents about your support for sexual abstinence, especially on a video hosted by the staffer with whom you are having sex.But thanks to the news that circulated late yesterday, we can now unveil the Christopher Lee Rule: Never flex your bare pecs to an online stranger.This particular Christopher Lee is not to be confused with the Christopher Lee who played Count Dooku in Star Wars, Episode II, although the two do have something in common. Count Dooku was speedily beheaded, and it can fairly be said that Congressman Lee (R-Craigslist) set a new speed record yesterday when he blew up his political career a mere four hours after being outed by the Gawker gossip website for his misbehavior.What was this guy possibly thinking? The second-termer (married with a child, representing a conservative upstate New York district) goes trolling on Craigslist’s “Women for Men” forum, finds himself a 34-year-old gal, sends her an email billing himself as “a very fit fun classy guy” who lives “in Cap Hill area,” sends her a cellphone photo of his bare upper torso (“I’m relaxing at home”), then he engages her in flirty repartee (he being particularly fond of the acronym LOL). He tells her “I promise not to disappoint,” he tells her that he is divorced…And, all the while, he uses his real name.Did I mention that he used his real name?Naturally, the woman Googled him. It couldn’t have taken her five minutes to put two and two together. Christopher Lee may be a common name, but she had his photo. Armed with the truth, she squawked to Gawker, which posted the story at 2:33 pm yesterday. End of career. Lee resigned at the dinner hour, issuing the standard mea culpa (“I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family…I have made profound mistakes…seek their forgiveness.”)The big mystery is why he ever would have deemed himself immune to discovery, although I suppose that hubris and stupidity are closely intertwined. (Another mystery was the lie he told her about his profession. He said he was a lobbyist. Only in Washington would somebody think that “lobbyist” was a turn on. And I question whether posing topless in dress pants is tantamount to “relaxing at home.”)Did this guy quit his seat too quickly? One might argue that he’s entitled to his own fantasy life, that it’s nobody’s business what he does on the side as long as he does his job. But here’s the rub: Congressman Lee was a devotee, during his truncated tenure, of the belief that morality should be legislated. (Quelle surprise!) He voted to extend institutional bigotry in the military, requiring gay soldiers to stay in the closet. He co-sponsored the current House Republican effort to curb the number of poor women seeking Medicaid abortions. Meanwhile, in a 2009 guest newspaper column, Lee spoke directly to the students who live in his district. He had this big concern about Internet abuse, and he helped pass a House bill cracking down on such abuse. Hey, kids, listen to your congressman: “Through the Internet, with a few keystrokes and the click of a button, a young person can call up information for a research project, make new friends or discover new hobbies. At the same time, responding to what may seem like a friendly e-mail or an appealing marketing offer can have serious consequences. “Private information and images can so easily be transmitted to friends and strangers alike. Indeed, for as much promise as the Internet offers young people in the form of educational resources and social connections, there is great concern about the dangers and unknowns associated with a medium that is growing by several billion web pages per day…”Nearly seven in 10 teens regularly receive personal messages online from people they don’t know. Sixty-four percent post photos or videos of themselves, while 58 percent post info about where they live…This is a challenge communities should confront together.”To which I can only say, LOL.

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